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"Ka Ni Saki Ku Bona, Tuzi Tuzi" - "I hate to see the shit": First CLTS training in Caprivi, Namibia

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We have just returned from an exciting and truly inspiring CLTS workshop in the Caprivi region of Namibia.

The workshop was organised by the Southern Africa Regional Environmental Project (SAREP) – a project which supports natural resource management in the Cubango-Okavango river basin (the border areas of Angola, Botswana, and Namibia), in collaboration with Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation, a Caprivi based NGO and the Namibian Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Forestry (Directorate of Water Supply and Sanitation Coordination).

We trained 30 members of a wildlife/natural resource management CBO in the Caprivi.  The Kasika Conservancy is a locally based community organisation that manages natural resources and improves livelihoods (including fishing) and water and sanitation. The CBO is very strong, all participants were field staff or management committee members from the local area, and this organisation will take the lead role in mobilising CLTS in this area.

The area in which the workshop was sited was in flood, so we stayed in a hotel on the Botswana side of the Chobe River and crossed each day by boat to the Namibian side – watching elephants and hippos on the way.   When we reached the other side of the river we had a 20 minute walk to the workshop site – all through deep sand.  The participants also came by foot, having to walk through flooded areas to reach the workshop site, in some cases wading through water up to their knees and some walking five miles each day to and from their homes.

The workshop was run in English, Subiya and Lozi – with the CBO staff helping with translation. We spent the first day discussing the main features of the CLTS approach and the morning of the second day demonstrating the ten CLTS activities. Then on the afternoon of the second day and third day we organised a series of practice sessions in two groups.  In each group participants took turns facilitating different CLTS activities, and after each practice we provided feedback. We also developed a number of songs about TUZI (shit) and developed responses for anticipated challenges from the community (eg “we are poor so we want you to build toilets for us.”)

On the fourth and fifth days each group organised triggering meetings in nearby villages.  Each meeting took roughly 2 1/2 hours, including the setup period, ten triggering activities, songs, and small group discussion to work out action plans. Many men were away doing migrant labour in the towns, so it was women and children who dominated the meetings. The nduna (chief) in each village opened the meeting and talked strongly in support of the objective of getting rid of TUZI.

Settlements in this area are very small – 8-15 households per hamlet – so the audiences were small – 10-15 women, 3-5 older men, 15-20 kids, and 5-10 teenagers.  But these communities are very cohesive, so we expect they will work together well in moving to action.

Because of the annual floods, villagers move to the higher land when it floods and then move back to the permanent village when the water recedes.  So we focused our discussions on stopping OD and building toilets in their permanent homes (rather than the temporary homes during the floods).

The trainees did a great job facilitating the activities and triggered a strong response of anger and disgust from each community.  At the start of the meeting many villagers didn’t like use of the word “TUZI” (shit), didn’t want to participate in the TUZI Walk, and refused to help carry the TUZI back to the meeting place; but by the end of the meeting everyone was using the TUZI word, talking passionately about getting rid of all the TUZI in the bush, and joining in the songs about eating and drinking TUZI and wanting to get rid of TUZI.  After a meeting in one village people threw out their food the next morning, saying it was contaminated with TUZI by flies.

In our group two blind trainees, Robert and Lucious Mafwila, who are brothers and members of the management committee, facilitated the WATER & TUZI and FOOD & TUZI sessions.  They provoked an angry response, but followed this up with lots of humour in trying to coax the audience to drink the (TUZI) water and eat the (TUZI) food. Robert said, “You look thirsty, so why are you refusing to drink the water?”  And Lucious said, “This food comes from Spar (a big supermarket ), so why don’t you want to eat it?”   One villager responded politely, saying “I’m already full, so I can’t eat any more”, and another said, “I have a toothache, so I can’t eat.”  But another said, “If the water is so good, why don’t you (the facilitator) drink it yourself!!” 

Two female trainees – Rosina and Esther - co-facilitated the session on HANDWASHING AND TUZI.  They simulated having a running stomach and ran out of the meeting place to defecate.  When they returned they rubbed their hands on their clothes (to simulate washing), picked up biscuits and offered them to different sections of the audience.  The response was immediate – “We don’t want your biscuits.  You didn’t wash your hands.  You are just giving us TUZI!”  Rosina and Esther lead simultaneous sessions with different sections of the audience – a new technique which worked well.

There were other interesting responses. One woman said, “When the floods bring the water close to our houses, we can see the shit in the water, but we drink that water and it makes us sick.”  One boy said, “When I go to shit in the bush, the flies and dogs follow me, and when I finish the flies and dogs carry the shit back to our home, often arriving before me.”  One old woman said, “If you  serve the food and a fly lands on the food, do you throw it away or do you eat it?”  One man said, “If you are walking through the bush and you meet a friend who has just had a shit and he offers you half of the corn he is eating, do you eat it or throw it away?”  Another man said, “We don’t have a choice.  The only way we can survive is to shit in the bush though we know this makes us sick.  We need toilets!”


We used lots of claps to keep up the energy, including the WASH clap –

POMPE ! – POMPE ! – POMPE ! (pumping handpump)

TUZI ! – TUZI !– TUZI ! (shitting)

SAMBE ! – SAMBE ! – SAMBE ! (washing hands)

And we got everyone singing the TUZI songs, including:



[I hate to see the shit – the shit – the shit – the shit – the shit – the shit]

1-2-3-4 IMA SIMBUZI SIKAI? (x 2) IMI SIMBUZI SIKAI? – IMI SIMBUZI SIKAI? [1-2-3-4 mama, where’s the toilet?]

At the end of the meeting people said, “We are living with flies and shit, we are shitting in the river and drinking this water, and this is killing us.  There is tons of TUZI all over the village and in the river.  We have to do something.”  We organised them into small groups and they came up with their own ideas for followup action.  They talked about building simple pit latrines, using reeds, wood and thatch – and supporting each other to dig the pits and build the latrines.  One challenge will be to find ways of reinforcing pits because of the sandy soil.  They will start building toilets as soon as the floods recede and they move back to their permanent villages.

In the meetings villagers also complained about the houseboats on the river who dump their shit directly into the river.  It was decided that the villagers and the Kasika Conservancy, with help from IDRNC, will organise a meeting with houseboat operators to push them to stop this practice. 

On our final (sixth) day of the workshop the Kasika Conservancy came up with plans for regular visits to the triggered communities and for triggering in other villages.  This followup process will be supported by IRDNC, SAREP, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water & Forestry

By the end of the workshop roughly 2/3 of the participants had become skilled and confident in doing the CLTS triggering – and committed to keeping the process going. Lots of enthusiasm and commitment and strong facilitation skills, great inter-agency collaboration, and a strong local CBO, so we have high hopes that this process will lead to a good kickoff for ODF action.

Ross Kidd is a CLTS Training Consultant based in Botswana.



Date: 12 June 2013